Is Babylon 5 secretly the most influential TV show of the past 25 years?

When my wife and I were grad students in Toronto, my sister would fill up VHS tapes with episodes of Babylon 5. When the tape was full, she’d send it off. (Together with some Mystery Science Theatre 2000.) What that means is that, though the episodes aired weekly, I binge-watched them. (I assume they were available on cable TV somewhere, but as students we opted not to splurge for that luxury.)

Those tapes never made it out of the box after our last move almost 19 years ago, and we no longer have a working VCR hooked up to the TV.  I haven’t seen any of these episodes in years, and my children know almost nothing about B5. When I saw a decent price on a full DVD run of Babylon 5, I ordered it. It will be enjoyable to start rewatching this series once the semester is over.

I didn’t learn anything particularly new about B5 from this article, but it’s a good overview.

Much like Game of Thrones more than a decade later, Babylon 5 was never content to tell just one story. The show often devoted a run of episodes to dealing with a particular subject, tying a (temporary) bow around it, and then moving onto something else – although you always knew that a dangling plot thread wouldn’t stay unresolved forever. So over the course of a season you might see mini-arcs about Mars’s bid for independence from Earth, the Centauri invading the Narn homeworld, and the all-encompassing war between the Shadows and the Vorlons, before they were revisited the following year – or later. It was ‘Westeros in space’ before George RR Martin had even published his first A Song of Ice and Fire novel, a show that rewarded viewers who tuned in for every installment. Babylon 5 was a show purpose-built for streaming and binge-viewing, trapped in the era of broadcast and cable. –Richard Edwards, Tech Radar

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